How I built a simple one page app with one button, which got 15000 unique visits in 48 hours

The story of how a one-page site with one button I built in 3 hours got almost 15000 unique users in 48 hours. Probably, it is not big, but it’s my personal experience, which I want to describe in a text and save.

An Idea

Rewind back to September 2015, I was seating on my work, in office and read some news, about how unknown people in masks with weapons wade into offices of IT companies in Kharkiv and Kyiv and confiscated all working machinery. In Kharkiv, a wave of searches in companies occurred about a few days (21-22 September 2015) with different IT companies. My colleagues began to joke – which company is next?

At 22 September, it happened with one of biggest IT outsourcers in Kharkiv. In that evening my colleague wrote me in Skype, that it’s time to bet or play roulette to define which company is next. I decided that I can build something simple which will show some random company. In the late evening, I started this app.

The Building

First of all, I downloaded HTML5 boilerplate for a simple start.

The first hour of developing I spent on parsing the data. I wanted to get the biggest and actual list of IT companies in Ukraine. Fortunately, the biggest site about IT in Ukraine made a rating from small to big companies.  I created a simple parser using Cheerio and downloaded them into .json file with the comfortable structure.

I’m not a designer, but I started thinking about design. I wanted to make something very-very simple. This is the hardest part because you starting sort out of many ready variants instead of doing. It’s like choosing the framework for developing.

In that time I’m very liked Tympanus tutorials, so I tried to pick some idea there. After an hour of searches, I found this template. It was exactly what I needed.

This button is really simple and tasteful. I defined the next flow for an app.

  1. User opens site
  2. See only one title “Which company is next” and one button “Find out”
  3. If press “Find out”, user see the fack search and some messages about what stuff people in masks are looking for.
  4. After successful search user will see the name and logo of the company and call to “warn other colleagues from other IT-companies” using Share-buttons.

I integrated this button and put all code in one file – js/main.js. Just copied all companies from JSON to this file and created simple randomizer for these data.

The final Look of an app
The final Look of an app

For analytics, I used Google Analytics.

After all these little things, this simple project was deployed to Github Pages. Also, its still exists here.

Marketing

I had no thoughts about marketing. I just wanted to post this link to the forum of the site about IT (I already mentioned it before). In the morning at 23 September I created a topic on this forum, but suddenly admin of this forum posted this link to the already created topic. I was surprising: someone created similar site in that night, but this guy made commit of his project on Github 2 hours earlier than I. So, he said in topic “he is the father” (about the concept).

After an hour I opened Google Analytics and was shocked – it was around 100 users in real time. Also, I noticed that counters of Facebook Repost began to grow. I was silent about this site because it was built in one night and all this traffic collapsed in the morning of a usual working weekday. One of my friends shared with me this link because someone shared it in corporative chat on his work and he even didn’t know that I built this site.

A bit later I noticed that the link to my site (with screenshot) was added to an article in popular Ukrainian internet journal about IT. In that time, I changed background picture on my site and wrote to this journal with messages to change screenshot in article. Journalist thanked me and asked the story of how I built this resource. They wanted to add this to an existed article. I sent them a little story using email (translated into English from Russian):

“Recently in the chat rooms among IT colleagues began to increasingly discuss the searches in IT companies. And already in jest, they began to bet and wonder who is next. Last night there was news about <company_name>, and my colleague about 9 pm in a comic form wrote me about roulette from IT companies. I decided to try to write this resource. First I had to parse data of all companies with DOU, and then add a little creative. In the night I uploaded the site to free hosting at Github. In the end, I spent on this almost sleepless night and a bottle of beer :)) “, – told us the creator of the site, junior software developer from Kharkiv Roman.”

After this, redaction of journal added this story to an article:

Screen from AIN.ua
Screen from AIN.ua

Final Stats

After the first day of the site, Google Analytics statistics looked like this:

Site statistics. 22-24 September 2015.
Site statistics. 22-24 September 2015.

Сonclusion

It was a viral site for 1.5 days and I got 0$ profit from it. But I learned some things from this small experience:

  • if something is viral, not expect that your idea is unique. Someone in world can build the same stuff as you simultaneously
  • you can transfer some traffic to your sites (for example Pieter levels made something similar while Brexit)
  • do not care about technologies in a similar case, no one cares about them if it viral, build quickly, deploy even faster
  • create a call for action (“repost” in my case)
  • do not scare to contact redaction of news sites, if the topic is viral

P.S. This is one of my attempts at writing, so I will be grateful to send all mistakes to me

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